Local Natives' "Gorilla Manor" - Album Review (6 of 52)

"Gorilla Manor" is a nuanced,layered, atmospheric work. Gorilla Manor Pretty much, you could say that it was written for someone with precisely my taste in music. My bottom line on this album is that it is very good but just a tad bit short of outstanding. In the end though, I chose to review this because I found myself thinking about it late in the day after having listened to it while working early on Thursday, i.e. the music stayed with me. And that's the kind of visceral, subconscious reaction to music that makes me love it.

Once again this week, I was sifting through suggestions and new releases, looking for something to inspire me... something I just HAD to write about. I posted a Facebook and Twitter status soliciting suggestions and got a lot of good ones. Ohio musician, and friend of friends, Lizard McGee of the band Earwig (Review of "Gibson Under Mountain" forthcoming) reminded me of this album, which I bought several months ago, but hadn't really paid enough attention to.

To start off with, a little background on the Local Natives. I love these guys' story: basically, they formed as a band in high school, graduated and moved into a house together in an LA suburb. This album is self-funded, and they kicked off their career by heading off to on a European tour. Kudos for chutzpah and self confidence. The other thing I love about their bio (at least as told on Wikipedia, which I assume is their own story) is that EVERYTHING is 100% collaborative. I like the vibe and I like the result.

Anyway, on to the songs: the first song on is "Wide Eyes" Here's the video:

Interesting video to say the least. I like the message, obviously a song about confronting inner demons. I love the texture and feel of this music: that feel runs throughout the album and makes it very enjoyable to my ears. But could they have gotten a less cheesey-looking shark? Nevertheless, if that's a sound that works for you, read on.

The second song is "Airplanes". Despite the silly intro, this is my favorite song on the album. Here'sYouTube:

It's a great song because it's so simple. Compared to the lyrics to the last couple albums I've reviewed, the lyrics to this song are like a Tweet. But they're powerfully delivered. At the end:

It sounds like
We would have had a great deal to say too each other
I bet when I leave my body for the sky
The wait will be worth it.

It's now getting late, and I need to start closing this up.  However, I do want to add that this album maintains a consistent quality throughout.  There are a couple of weaker (to my ear) songs, but overall, I like most everything they offer up on this album.  In particular, I'd direct your attention to "Shape Shifter,"  "Warning Sign,"  and "Stranger Thread."

I guess that one of the hesitations that I have about a full-on 100% endorsement of this album is that I really do like this sound. But there is already someone else (as it were) who's captured my ear. I think this sounds like, but not quite as good as The Whiles "Colors of the Year", which is hanging in there as one of my favorite albums of all time. But I shouldn't hold that against the Local Natives, I just encourage you to get both...

And with that, I'm going to start doing one of the things I really want to do on this blog, which is introduce my friends in Columbus and everywhere else to some of the great music coming out of Columbus, Ohio.  Next week, I'll tell you why I love "Creature" by the Phantods.